Carl Schurz Park Conservancy, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit corporation in the state of New York, is the oldest park conservancy in New York City. Carl Schurz Park, a 15.2 acre space on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, extends from East 84th Street to East 90th Street, and from East End Avenue to the East River.
In the late 1960’s, a small group of neighbors on New York’s Upper East Side banded together to help upgrade Carl Schurz Park, giving particular emphasis to its playground, which served the needs of the neighborhood children. Their highest priority was to make sure the playground was safe and well maintained for the hundreds of families who used it.
Had it not been for the fiscal crisis of the 1970’s, the group most likely would have continued to focus its energies on playground activities. The dire state of the city changed that, forcing the group to broaden its commitment and to take an increasingly active role in the park; the Carl Schurz Park Association was created and incorporated in 1974.
The unique response of the Association and its development of a first ever private-public working relationship with the NYC Parks Department served to lay the groundwork for maintaining and preserving this small gem of a park. This opened the way for a series of successful projects and family events undertaken by the Association, many of which continue today.
During the ensuing years, the Carl Schurz Park Association grew in depth and responsibilities. Hundreds of volunteers were affecting dramatic changes in the horticultural landscape of the park. The Board decided a name change was in order to more closely reflect the Association’s mission. In 2006, Carl Schurz Park Conservancy was introduced, and its first full-time Executive Director was hired.
Over the years the Conservancy has funded major garden and lawn restorations and presented a diverse and rich calendar of first class family events, including the Gracie Square Art Show, considered the finest outdoor art show in the metropolitan area.